Sunday 23 November 2008

Discussions at Tusculum - Cicero

'For nothing that there is the slightest possibility of eventually losing can be regarded as an ingredient of the happy life'

'Moral good is the only good'

'We can disregard wealth, which I do not include in the category of good things because anyone, however unworthy, can get hold of it'

'Our customs have infected our characters with escapism and luxury and inactivity and idleness and inertia. Our false beliefs and dangerous habits have softened and enervated us.'

'For virtues can have no existence at all without happiness, and conversely, happiness cannot exist without any virtues either. Consequently, they will never allow happiness to give them the slip. On the contrary, they will hustle it along with themselves. Whatever agony, whatever torment, lies ahead, they will endure it together.'

'My shoes are the hard soles of my feet, my bed is the earth, my food is only seasoned by hunger - and I eat nothing but milk and cheese and meat. Come and visit me, and you will find me at peace.' - Anacharsis

'To have no job, to devote one's time to literature, is the most wonderful thing in the world.'

Thursday 13 November 2008

Back To School

Currently I am snowed under with postgrad application forms which I am moving through with all the speed of a knee-capped tortoise. In an attempt to break the monotonous cycle I've decided to enlightenment you cyber-peasants of the muzak that has been pumping around the house keeping me sane amidst the never-ending mountain of paper.

(I will freely admit that Armors' blog at got me thinking about this, but I've never been a huge fan of the hippity-hop)

I remember reading recently about one of the Deftones' members being in hospital for some reason or another which got me listening to their stuff again for the first time in an age and being pleasantly surprised by how much I still like their sound. They are an acquired taste granted, the musical equivalent of liquorice allsorts. Either you think of the Deftones as a delightful treat, offering something completely different from the usual batch of metal acts out there or everything about them offends your delicate conservative palate, in which case get out. now.

Album art (above): Around the Fur
Video: Back to School

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Master Of Puppets

Killing Machine

Alright I resisted playing the first Gears of War for as long as bloody possible for the simple reason that I knew I would get hooked and therefore desire the xobx 360 I simply could not afford. Unfortunately my will was not up to the task and my mate Seb and I ploughed through the first game with unbridled glee. Anyone with half a brain can probably pinpoint the main reason for the success of Gears of War.

'The realistic cover and advance gameplay?'

'The fantastic maps?'

'The story?'

'The characters?'

NO! you berk its the fact that you have a chainsaw on the end of your gun. This is a game that clearly realised that top of the list of priorities for the majority of frothing lunatics that cream themselves over fountains of virtually animated blood splattering across their tv screens are new and more visceral methods of violent debauchery. The ability to chainsaw enemies or if you're a pussy shooting then curb stomping them adds a whole deliciously vicious and worryingly satisfying element to gameplay.

Gears of War 2 continues with much of the same in a classic case of 'if it ain't broke don't try and fix it' although I do salute the attempt to vary up the action via numerous changes of situation/environment. Though well aware of the fact that I'm a relative n00b to GoW I did find this game to be considerably easier than the first. You almost forget as you charge like a bull through a matadors convention picking bits of Locust off your chainsaw that there is a gun attached to the bloody thing. Not that I'm really complaining though

Wherever I may roam

So my main reason (excuse) for neglecting my blogging duties is the fact that I spent a large part of my summer... actually ALL of my summer stateside in Boston MA. After graduating from UCD (with a II.1 incidentally) I found most of my friends discussing plans for postgrad courses/jobs (the horror THE HORROR). Needless to say I fled all the way across the Atlantic, away from this lunatic talk of responsibility.

I spent three months, from June to August, in Boston painting houses as a living. I quit that job a week earlier than planned but was (in hindsight) incredibly glad that I did so as it freed up enough time in August for me to visit Chicago for a week. After returning from Chicago in September I headed on down to NYC for 2 weeks, followed by a week in Toronto, a few days in Kingston and Montreal before heading back to Bean-Town and my flight home.

Given that this was my first time in the States I came home with quite a good first impression. I loved the town pride among Bostonians, the mix of cultures in NYC and the sheer size of everything in Chicago. Toronto was considerably smaller than I remember it being but atmosphere there was positively serene after the bedlam of Manhattan. And I know this doesn't make any sense but Montreal seemed more 'French' than I remember it being.

To be honest it is impossible for me to adequately convey just how amazing a time I had in North America and I'm not about to bore everyone to death trying. Not that America is perfect, not by a looooooooooooong way but it was definitely a worthwhile experience. Boston has since been added to my 'places I can see myself living in' (along with Vancouver, Edinburgh and London) list.

Hopefully normal service will resume here shortly

Best bits
1. Fenway Park - Boston, MA
2. Steam Whistle brewery - Toronto, ON
3. Old Town - Montreal, QC
4. The L - Chicago, IL
5. Central Park, NYC, NY
6. Brooklyn - NYC, NY
7. Financial district - NYC, NY
8. Southie - Boston, MA
9. Harbour islands - Toronto, ON
10. The Lakeshore - Chicago, IL
11. Beat LA! - Boston, MA
12. 9/11 - NYC, NY